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Open Primaries are open to all voters while Closed Primaries are restricted to register members of the parties. Caucuses are local elections for delegates to state convention to pick delegates to national convention.

Don't know how the last one comes into the game.

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Open Primaries are open to all voters while Closed Primaries are restricted to register members of the parties. Caucuses are local elections for delegates to state convention to pick delegates to national convention.

Don't know how the last one comes into the game.

Okay, so for an Open Primary, everyone from any party can vote? And caucuses are in the game, but I don't know how realistic they are in how delegates come from them.

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Open primaries usually don't ask voters to register with any particular political party, but on primary day, you just go and pick which party's primary you would like to vote in. A far-right Republican, for example, may go and vote in the Democratic primary for a very liberal candidate to ensure that their party's candidate is more electable, and vice versa. The Democratic primaries for the 4th Congressional District of Georgia for the last several years are a great example of this, but they actually voted for the more moderate Democrat (Al Sharpton looks like a DLC member compared to Cynthia McKinney) because the district was so heavily Democrat.

When you register to vote, some states force you to declare a party affiliation or check "other". Registered Democrats vote in the Democratic party primaries...registered Republicans vote in their party's primary. Independents get hosed in closed primaries usually, especially here in KY where virtually all local office elections (Sheriff, County Clerk, etc.) are decided in the Democratic primary. Only a handful of states still keep this system as far as I know.

Caucuses are basically delegate selection meetings for Democrats. A group of voting-precinct Democrats, for example, go to a bingo hall, a church, municipal building or some common meeting place and get into groups supporting a particular candidate. If a group has less than 15% support in that precinct, whoever is tallying goes to that group (let's say a group that supported Kucinich) and tells them that their group isn't "viable", and offers them the option of either joining another candidate's supporters (which is what most do) or leaving. When all groups have 15% (I know it's the minimum threshold in Iowa, but other state's may be more or less), then they select delegates for the County Convention. The county convention works the same way I believe (get into groups, takes 15%), and they (s)elect delegates for their congressional district convention. The CD convention elects delegates for the state convention, and the state convention elects delegates for the National Convention.

To put it more simply SaskGuy, think of caucuses as Delegate Selection meetings, but there's about three more levels inbetween before the Leadership Convention. (Local Liberals--->Provincial Riding Liberals--->Federal Riding Liberals--->Provincial Liberal Convention--->Montreal)

Hope that clarifies once and for all. :)

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